Indian River Chamber of Commerce

Virtual brochure and information for Indian River Chamber of Commerce, one of many online travel brochures for tourist information in Indian River, MI. Provided by your source for Mackinaw Information and Mackinac Information.

Photo of brochure for "Indian River Chamber of Commerce" 

Virtual PDF brochure of Indian River Chamber of Commerce

3435 S. Straits Highway
Indian River, MI
Toll-free: 1-800-EXIT-310

2006 Vacation Planner and Chamber directory In the heart of Michigan’s largest Inland Waterway

Welcome to Indian River
...where you’ll be inspired by our beautiful landscape, charmed by our laid-back friendliness, and amazed by our rich natural resources, culture and history. We’re an outdoor recreational oasis! Here you’ll find what you’ve been looking for: blue skies, scarlet sunsets, sandy beaches, emerald forests, white downy snow, and a population proud of its diversity, lifestyle and heritage. Our community provides an atmosphere for people to reflect, explore, and rejuvenate.

Located in the heart of Michigan’s Largest Inland Waterway, Indian River is a lively community with a great love of the outdoors. And one of the most fun! Now, it’s time for you to experience how vivid life can be in this land of limitless possibilities. Panoramic in scope, this guide will acquaint you with all of our hidden corners, and assist you in planning a vacation you will never forget.

We invite you to enjoy and experience all that our community has to offer. Our goal is to provide you with the resources necessary to create memories full of warmth, and hospitality that exceeds your expectations. We have a wealth of verdant landscapes crisscrossed by rivers and dotted with the sort of rural community that most people associate with fairy tales. Not even big enough on most maps to contain the letter of its name, Indian River makes up in character what it lacks in size.

This comprehensive travel guide brings Indian River to life and includes everything you need to plan your next escape. This guide takes you from the crowded streets of metropolitan America to the beaches, waterways, and forests of the north woods. In addition to the natural beauty of Northern Michigan, Indian River offers a variety of lodging, dining and shopping options available with prices to fit any pocketbook. You too can enjoy an array of family events, festivals and numerous four-season activities.

Have a safe and pleasant stay, and if you should need assistance before, during or after your visit, feel free to contact the friendly staff at the Indian River Chamber of Commerce located at 3435 S. Straits Highway, downtown Indian River.

Brenda Archambo,
Executive Director

Top reasons to discover, explore, and play in Indian River
- Elk Viewing - Largest herd East of the Mississippi
- The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods - Worlds Largest Crucifix
- Inland Waterway - Michigan’s Largest - 38 miles
- Boating
- Sailing
- Nat’l Boat Races

Your One Stop Business & Travel Information Center

Indian River - a Historical Journey
Information and excerpts taken from "The Steamer Topinabee and The Inland Water Route of Northern Michigan" by Mark Hill.

One of the communities located along the Inland Waterway is Indian River. The village of Indian River got its name fro the river that passes through it. J. Clark filed a claim for 152 acres of what is now Indian River. Clark sold the land to M. McHenry and F.E. Martin, who promptly plotted the land for a village. The new survey was recorded in 1879.

Mr. Martin owned the first store in Indian River, "F.E. Martin Dealer in General Merchandise." At one time, it employed 10 clerks. The store carried groceries, dry goods, hardware, drugs and lumber. The store was open from early morning until late at night. At the present time The Inn Between is located in the original existing building.

Michigan Central Railway made Indian River a stop in the late 1880s, bringing tourists and supplies to and from the area. During berry season, a baggage car of berries would be shipped out each night. Native Indians picked the huckleberries in the area and squaws carried the berries in elm bark baskets. A quart of berries cost four cents. Pigeon travelers came by boat to trap passenger pigeons in the area. After trapping the pigeons, the travelers would shi the pigeons east via the railroad.

Many tourist that arrived in Indian River via the Michigan Central Railway wanted to stay at resorts, go to a cottage, or camp. Many wanted to tour the peaceful river and the surrounding lakes by simply boating and or fishing. Towing services were provided by several business establishments to take boats to fishing locations or just to enjoy the sights.

A parade of boats on the Indian River was a common sight, as well as a Regatta. The Pinehurst served as a common meeting place for a lot of visitors. The Pinehurst Bar currently occupies the original building. Several steamers stopped for dinner in Indian River. One location for the steamers to dock was at Martins Dock. The dock ran from the bridge to what is now Northland Sports.

A particularly popular area on the Indian River was the Columbus Beach area, where many activities were held. The Indainola Summer Resort Association and the Columbus Beach Club merged into the Columbus Beach Club, consisting of many summer homes. The club members built streets and sidewalks in the area. Later, the club erected a clubhouse and a casino, which was built in 1900. The club operated its own boats for club members. First was the Columbus Maid in the 1890s, then came the Buckeye Belle in the early 1900s. Members of the club were taken daily to Indian River for shopping via their club boats.

Another club named the Argonaut Hunting and Fishing Club was located one mile south of Indian River on Burt Lake. The area was referred to as Pittsburg Landing, founded by G. Lashell of Pittsburg in the late 1890s. The club was later incorporated as the Argonaut Club. The club maintained two launches, named the Argonaut Belle and the Pittsburgh. Both clubs still exist and many of the homes and cottages are the originals from this time period.

At the mouth of the Indian River at Mullett Lake was the Mullett Lake House, which was an elaborate resort hotel. The resort was built in 1879-80 at a cost of $42,000 by Wm. And C.R. Smith. A bridge at the mouth of the Indian River provided a means for passengers to cross the river after arriving at the Grandview Railroad Station. Unfortunately due to the location, neither the bridge, which are the remains of the pilings found in the spreads, or the hotel existed very long. The Mullett Lake House was moved on lighters (log rafts) by steam tugs to Sault Ste. Marie. It was renamed the Iroquois Hotel, and was destroyed by fire in 1896.

T. Dagwell had a boat works operation on the river, including the makings of boats. It was located near what we refer to as the "green dock" on Prospect Street. He was trained in England. A good row-boat, made of oak, with two coats of paint and two sets of oars, cost $30 in the late 1880s.

While the area was heavily wooded up to the shores, homesteaders erected log cabins along the river, because of the scenic vistas that the route provided. Timber cutting and prosperous saw mills surrounded the area.

Indian River received its first post office in 1879. It was located in F.E. Martin’s Mercantile, but was later moved to where McClutcheys Sale Store is and then to its current location. The first church building in Indian River was a Methodist church. Built in 1883, it is the existing church today. The land was donated by the Martins.

The mouth of the Sturgeon River was moved from flowing into the Indian River to its current location on Burt Lake. The reason for the move was to prevent the creation of sand bars on the Indian River. The sand bars created navigation problems for tugs and rafts. The Michigan Historical Commission has the original plans for the diversion of the Sturgeon River mouth from Indian River to Burt Lake.

On July 3, 1911, there was a large fire which started in the back of the Alcove Hotel, located in the building across from F.E. Martin’s Mercantile. The fire eliminated a lot of Indian River at the time, and it took the village a long time to recover.

The population of Indian River in 1895 was 212 compared to today’s population of 2,008.

Homemade from Our Town
Up North Mocha Fudge
3 - Cups semi-sweet baking chips
1 - (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 - Tablespoons chocolate-flavored syrup
1 - Tablespoon instant coffee
1 - Tablespoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan over low heat, melt chips with sweetened condensed milk. Remove from heat; stir in syrup, coffee and vanilla. Spread evenly into a nonstick foil-lined 8 or 9-inch square pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut into squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature. Enjoy!

Along the Waterway
Navigational Note...
Water flows from Crooked Lake to the Cheboygan River and into Lake Huron. Keep the red channel marker to your close right when going "up stream," and the green channel markers close to your right when going "down stream."

Approximate Maximum Depths:
Burt Lake - 73 feet
Mullett Lake - 120 feet
Crooked Lake - 61 feet
Pickerel Lake - 70 feet

Facts and Information…

  • 150 miles of shoreline. 30 miles of river.
  • Dredged to 5’ depth with a width of 30’ by U.S. Corps of Engineers (subject to shoaling).
  • Route completely marked with channel markers. River entrances marked with flashing lights.
  • Accessible from I-75, M-27, M-33 and US 31.
  • Ramps with varying water depths available along the waterway.
  • Can handle boats up to 65 feet long (18-foot beam), with up to a 5-foot draft. Overhead bridges limit boat height.
  • Route is 38 miles long.
  • Route features 2 locks. 15-foot gate lock in Cheboygan, $4.00 for recreational vehicle. 2-foot clam lock near Alanson is free.
  • Longest distance between stops is 10 miles.

Docking space is available along the Indian River, Cheboygan River and in Alanson.

A Historical Journey through the Inland Waterway
Information and excerpts taken from "The Steamer Tobinabee and The Inland Water Route of Northern Michigan" by Mark Hill.

Those seeking picturesque beauty and adventure by boat will enjoy the fact that Indian River is located in the heart of a unique chain of lakes and rivers known as the Inland Waterway.

The Inland Waterway of today comprises the waters of Crooked Lake, Crooked River, Burt Lake, Indian River, Mullett Lake and the Cheboygan River. The summer months provide warm waters for modern recreation. Many pleasure boaters annually make plans to explore the 87-mile, round-trip route, usually over the course of a weekend.

Offering leisurely excursions filled with wildlife and scenic beauty, or water skiing, tubing and swimming for watersport enthusiasts, the Inland Waterway has something for everyone. Once a vital means of transportation for the area, trappers and explorers used the route as a safe passage from Lake Michigan to the Straits of Mackinac. Loggers also used it to float lumber to mills in Cheboygan as an alternative to using the railroad.

Vacationers began to experience the Inland Waterway in the late 1800s via steamboat excursions. In 1957, a channel that was 30 feet wide and 5 feet deep was dredged to accommodate the growing popularity in pleasure boating. Since then, thousands of vessels have passed through the connecting lakes and rivers each summer.

Many species of fish fill the lakes and rivers of the Inland Waterway, and wildlife is abundant along the banks. Amenities are also plentiful, including a variety of restaurants, shopping, accommodations and camping. Several full-service marinas are easily accessible, as are public boat launches.

The Cheboygan River is the largest river in the system, with the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw moored at its mouth. A drawbridge spans the river in downtown Cheboygan and a lock up the river raises and lowers boats by 12 feet to allow them passage.

Upstream fro the dam and lock, the Black River converges with the Cheboygan River. Even further upstream is the 12-mile-long Mullett Lake, a haven for fishermen and watersports alike. Covering more than 17,000 acres, it is the fifth-largest inland lake in Michigan.

The Indian River enters Mullett Lake’s southwest corner and winds through wetlands full of wildlife. The river passes through the village of Indian River before meeting Burt Lake, the state’s fourth-largest inland lake. At Bullhead Bay, the Crooked River flows into Burt Lake.

Winding toward Alanson, the Crooked River includes a smaller lock that raises boats 2 feet to the level of Crooked Lake. At Crooked Lake’s west end, you are two and a half miles, but 104 water miles, to Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan.

The following is a historical look at the Inland Waterways
Indians and The Inland Route -
The Inland Route known to the Indians and fur traders also included Round Lake (near Lake Michigan), and a small stream from Round Lake to Crooked Lake called Iduna Creek. The Inland Route was a highly desirable passage, due to the naturally protected inland waters and the fact that it eliminated the need to take the treacherous journey around Waugoshance Point on Lake Michigan. Therefore, navigation of the Great Lakes waters between Petoskey and the mouth of the Cheboygan River could be eliminated by taking the Inland Route.

Indian encampments have been documented along the entire Inland Route. An archaeological study by Michigan State University has found traces of approximately 50 encampments along its shores. One of the most productive digs was located in Ponshewaing, with artifacts dating back 3,000 years.

Two portage points were used by the trading Indians. The portage from Lake Michigan occurred near Menonaqua, located between Kegomic and the south border of the current Petoskey State Park. Another portage was usually needed at various points on the Iduna Creek.

The Inland Route Area Grows -
The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad (G.R&I.) reached Petoskey in October, 1873. The regular train service to the area brought settlers, lumbermen and the first tourists to the areas around the Inland Route.

The Inland Route Opens Up -
In 1874, Mr. Frank Sammons of Cheboygan conceived the idea of transporting the mail via the Inland Waterway from Cheboygan to a point on the Crooked River (Alanson) where it could be taken via the State Road to Petoskey, then, to the railroad. In order to make his plan work, Mr. Sammons needed to remove sediment from the mouth of the Indian River at Burt Lake. He set out with a team of horses, two white men, and two Indians, then proceeded to plough and scrape the sand bar wide enough for the tug Maud Sammons to enter Burt Lake with a full load of supplies and mail for the lumber camps established along the shores.

In 1876, the Bureau of Swamp Lands made an appropriation of $20,000 for the dredging of the Crooked River. Dredging began in June, and later that same year, a tug piloted by Captain Andrews of Petoskey made the full trip from Conway to Cheboygan in 10.5 hours. Prior to the establishment of the railroads around the Inland Route, the only means to transport logs and finished products in the area was by using tugs between Conway and Cheboygan. With the advent of railroads, the Inland Waterway went into a decline. As tourists began to discover the attractions of the Inland Route, it became one of the busiest inland waterways in the country. At one point, up to 32 boats a day were traveling the route with tours lasting 2-3 hours up to an overnight stay at various hotels. The types of boats providing tours were Side Wheelers, Paddle Wheelers, Naphtha Launches and Steam Boats.

The first steamer on the Inland Water Route that did not require a paddle-wheel for propulsion was the Irene. Mr. Hamill, who later operated the Steamer Topinabee, owed the Irene. The Irene’s boiler operated on coal and wood. The Irene operated on the Inland Water Route from 1884 until 1915, hauling freight and passengers, and was piloted by Capt. Fields for most of its existence. When taking passengers, a souvenir booklet was given as a reminder.

In 1880, the Inland Navigation Company was organized by Mr. Charles R. Smith of Cheboygan and three boats were running until 1883. Two prominent boats for the Inland Navigation Company were the side wheelers "City of Cheboygan" and the "Northern Belle." These two boats would make trips from Conway to the Mullett Lake House. People wanting to make the trip to "The Island of Mackinac" would board the "Propeller Mary" to continue their journey. Many boats traveled the river at the time, as the river proved to be the best means of transportation. Mr. Frank Joslin, better known as Captain Joslin, first ran the Ida May, a steamer tug that hauled logs. On Feb. 7, 1887, he had purchased this steamer from Jane Dagwell for $259. In 1893, Capt. Joslin piloted a new boat, the Oden, on her first trip down the river. This vessel was built expressly for the Inland Route.

In 1903, a steamboat traveled daily from Oden to Cheboygan during the navigation season. By far, the most popular vessel of them all was the shallow draft, double decked, "Steamer Topinabee." Piloted by Mr. Hamill, who falsely marketed himself as a grandson of Chief Petoskey, a typical trip itinerary would include: Board the Steamer Topinabee in Oden, make stops in Pon-she-wa-ing, Alanson, Sagers Resort, Columbus Landing, Indian River, Topinabee (for dinner), Cheboygan, terminus Mackinac Island. A similar trip was the inverse of this schedule. At other times, the Topinabee also include stops at The Inn at Conway (Conway House, Inland House).

While touring Conway, Oden and Ponshewaing were attractions themselves, the most interesting part of the journey was the cruise down the Crooked River. Alanson, from 1882 until 1901, had a 14-foot-high wooden bridge known as the “High Bridge.” At this point on the river, many steamers had to hinge back their smokestack to pass under the bridge. The Steamer Topinabee, had to hinge back its pilot house, and the smoke-stack was a telescoping design.

In 1901, a swing bridge replaced the High Bridge. From 1901 until the mid 1960s, the swing bridge had to be opened via a manual key placed into a gearing system. In the mid 1960s, a hydraulic system was installed to actuate the gearing. The Topinabee was 72-feet-long and had a 12-foot beam providing for a very minimal clearance at the bridge opening, thus very slow accurate navigation was needed. The second bridge location across the Crooked River in Alanson is at the present day site of the M-68 bridge. In 1903, a drawbridge was installed by the Grand Rapids Bridge Co. Careful navigation was also needed at this bridge, too. In 1937, the drawbridge was replaced by a cement bridge similar to the bridge that exists today.

Further down river were many tight, narrow bends in the river. Of particular interest were two corners called "Devils Elbow" and "Horse Shoe Bend." In order to navigate the tight corners of these two corners, the steamer had to go forward and backward several times in addition to deck hands using poles to help push the steamer around the banks of the corner. On some of the corners, logs were tied together at the bank, to facilitate the boat "sliding" around the corner. Early two-engine Side Wheelers would actually have one wheel going forward, and the other wheel going backward, to facilitate navigating the tight corners.

From 1876 until 1920, nearly 100 commercial watercraft were in business on the Inland Waterway. The watercraft included: steam tug, side-wheel steamers, stern paddlewheel steamers, propeller-driven steamers, Naphtha steamers, and gas-powered watercraft. Tug boats were primarily used to facilitate the transporting of supplies and logs. The steamers were primarily used for the transport of people to various places along the Inland Route. Some steamers were owned by a particular resort. Examples include the Columbus Main (1983), operated by the Columbus Beach Association (Indian River); also the Argonaut Belle (1898) and the Pittsburg (1896-1905), operated by the Argonaut Club (Burt Lake). The Buckeye Belle, a resort steamship, ran from 1905 to 1915 and was owned by the Dodge Resort.

While the Inland Route was an entity by itself, there were operations to take passengers from Oden to St. Ignace. The New Inland Route (a company) had such an operation. The Irene, Wau-Kon and the Charles D. had coordinated timetables to enable passengers to make the trip. Another combination of steamers Sailor Boy, Irene and the Wilson had the same route. A typical itinerary would be to take the Irene from Oden to Topinabee, transfer to the Wilson, travel to Cheboygan, and transfer to the Sailor Boy for St. Ignace.

Getting To The Inland Route Area Via Steamship -
Many early tourists arrived to the Inland Waterway Route area via a Lake Michigan steamship. Chicago to Harbor Springs was a popular trip for many passengers. An elegant ship named the Manitou would make the trip in 24 hours. In 1898, the fare was $5, with meals and berth extra. Another popular ut less elegant ship was the North Land (Northland). Two other popular ships were the Petoskey and the Charlevoix, their time to Harbor Springs was 40 hours. The cost to take these boats in 1898 was $7, with meals and berth included. Early steamships stopped at Harbor Springs due to its naturally protected and very deep harbor; later, they added a stop in Petoskey.

Getting To The Inland Route Area Via Train -
Other tourists arrived to Petoskey and the Inland Waterway area via train. The two main railroads were the G.R.&I. Railroad, which billed itself as "The Fishing Line," and the Chicago and West Michigan Railway. A typical round-trip fare from Detroit was $11.98, and $18 for a round-trip from Cincinnati. Passengers could bring up to 150 pounds of luggage. In 1905, more than 60 trains were coming into Petoskey daily.

Homemade From Our Town
Country Fried Venison
2 lbs. - Venison tenderloin
1/2 C. - Soy sauce
1/2 C. - Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C. - Butter or margarine, melted
1/2 to 2tsp. - Liquid smoke, optional
1 - Egg beaten
1 C. - Buttermilk
1 C. - All purpose flour
2tsp. - Seasoned salt
2tsp. - Vegetable oil

Cut tenderloin into eight steaks. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, butter and liquid smoke if desired. Add steaks; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

In a shallow bowl, combine egg and buttermilk. In another bowl, combine flour and seasoned salt. Drain steaks discarding marinade. Dip steaks in buttermilk mixture, then roll in flour mixture. In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook steaks in oil for 12-14 minutes turning occasionally, or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Yield 8 servings.

Catch a glimpse of the Largest Free-Roaming Elk Herd east of the Mississippi
Visitors to Indian River are only minutes from the Pigeon River Country State Forest a prime location for catching a glimpse of the largest free roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi.

Indian River offers plenty of unique opportunities, among them the chance to view nearby wild elk in their natural environment.

Visitors to Indian River are only minutes away from the Pigeon River Country State Forest, a prime location for catching a glimpse of the largest free-roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi. Although elk can be viewed throughout the year, two of the most popular months to see them are September and October, during their mating season or rut. During this time, dominant bulls weighing as much as 900 to 1,000 pounds gather harems of cows and drive off competing bulls. Bulls also give long, high-pitched calls during the rut, an activity known as bugling.

The best times for viewing elk are during the first hour or two of daylight and during the last hour before dark. At these times, elk will feed in the forest openings, fields and recently cutover areas. Elk may be seen alone, but are more commonly known to stay in groups. For most of the year, the cows and calves band together and bulls usually associate with other bulls.

Elk were common to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan prior to settlement, but disappeared soon after 1875. The 1918 release of seven elk in Cheboygan County’s Nunda Township was the only one of several restoration attempts in the state that was successful. The herd grew slowly, but by the 1960s elk numbers had reached 1,500 and their range had expanded to areas of Montmorency, Otsego and Presque Isle counties.

This increase in density and distribution of elk began causing crop damage and affecting forest regeneration. Legislation was obtained to permit controlled hunting in 1964 and 1965 in an effort to reduce pressure on the elk herd’s range and to gather biological data, but poaching increased dramatically following these hunts. By 1975, the herd numbered only about 200.

An intensified law enforcement effort was made, public support increased and habitat conditions were improved, allowing healthy growth in the elk herd. An elk management plan was reviewed by the Department of Natural Resources and interested citizens, and was approved by the Natural Resources Commission in 1984. An annual elk hunt was also established that year and continues today. Hunters must apply and be selected through a random drawing in order to be eligible to participate in the hunt, which helps to control the population and gives biologists a chance to monitor the health of the herd, currently estimated at 1,000 elk.

Maps showing the best places to view elk are available at the Indian River Chamber of Commerce. Road conditions vary with the season, so caution should always be exercised, especially in more remote areas.

Guided Elk Tours on Horseback -
Seeing a majestic elk in the wild is breathtaking, but doing so from the back of a horse can be the experience of a lifetime.

For those interested in this thrill, look no further than Vern Bishop, who runs a guide service for elk tours on horseback in nearby Onaway.

Tours are available during each of the four seasons, and reservations for more popular times of year are booked early. First choice is given to repeat customers as a "thank you" for their patronage.

Bishop will take no more than six people at a time on a tour, which typically lasts four to five hours. He trailers his horses to state land and scouts the location of the elk in advance to increase the chances of finding and seeing them on tours.

During winter rides, Bishop builds a bonfire halfway through the tour. Winter rides offer spectacular scenery and a better chance of viewing elk, which can be tracked in the snow, Bishop explained.

Another popular time of year for guiding tours in mid-September through October, when bull elk can be hear "bugling" during their mating season, he added.

Bishop also offers overnight trips, although they cost a little more. A regular elk tour is currently $65 per person with prices dependent on the economy, he noted.

Bishop says wildlife doesn’t feel threatened by the appearance of a horse, which increases people’s chances of getting close enough for a photograph. He can’t guarantee that riders will see elk, but they often do, in addition to deer, eagles and other wildlife.

Horseback experience is not required and families are welcome. For more information or to make reservations, call Bishop at 989-733-6463 or send an e-mail to

Gift certificates for tours are available.
The Vern Bishop Guide Service is located at 7710 S. Brady Road, Onaway, MI 49765.

Standing Tall and Strong the Indian River Totem Pole
Visitors to Indian River can’t miss the impressive 27-foot-tall totem pole located by the village green parking lot in the downtown area.

In 1987, Bob Campbell envisioned creating the totem pole by carving it from a cottonwood tree that had been planted by early settlers. The following year, he did just that, depicting a Huron Indian scout with a bald eagle on his shoulders.

However, time and the elements took a toll on the carving through the years. Although the Indian River Women’s Club took responsibility for maintaining the totem pole - painting it, making numerous repairs and reinstalling the totem pole on a concrete base - a windstorm eventually blew one of the eagle’s wings down several years ago. It was determined that nature and deterioration had prevailed and the original carving of the Native American could not be saved.

As a result, Eric and Mike Operhall of Wolverine were contracted to design and carve a new totem pole to replace the original. The Indian River Woman’s Club again showed its support by enthusing area residents to provide a cedar tree, small logs for eagle wings, kiln drying and funding for the project.

From start to finish, the totem pole took two years to complete and cost approximately $10,000. Today, the totem pole depicting a Native American fisherman from the turtle clan sporting a spear and a lake sturgeon stands tall and strong.

The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods
Indian River is home to the world’s largest outdoor crucifix, known as the Cross in the Woods. The 55-foot redwood cross supports a half-ton bronze figure of Christ, and is surrounded by artfully landscaped grounds, a Catholic shrine, a family center and numerous other works of statuary.

The 55-foot-high cross was erected in 1954, cut from an enormous Oregon redwood tree. The shrine had its origin in 1946 when the Rev. Charles D. Brophy was inspired by the example of Tekawitha, an Algonquin/Mohawk native who was born in 1656 near Auriesville, New York. Tekawitha, also known as "The Lily of the Mohawks," had a favorite devotion of placing crosses on trees in the forest to serve as stations to stop and pray. Brophy thus recommended that the Indian River church be name after the Indian maiden.

The image of the crucified Jesus came later, raised into place in 1959. Sculptor Marshall M. Fredericks created the bronze, seven-ton corpus to be placed on the already existing cross. The other shrines came later, as the crowds increased each summer. The new chapel was dedicated in 1997 and can accommodate almost 1000 worshippers.

The Indian River landmark celebrated a milestone anniversary in the summer of 2004, when the Cross in the Woods Catholic Shrine turned 50. Thousands of visitors continue to flock to the outdoor crucifix, the Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, the Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekawitha, the indoor chapel of the Cross in the Woods, the gift shop and the Doll Museum.

For more information, visit the Website on the Internet, or call 231-238-8973. The shrine is located at 7078 M-68, two minutes west of I-75, exit 310 (Indian River).

Creating a promising future for the students of Inland Lakes Schools - Inland Lakes High School Cisco Training
How many students have the opportunity to graduate from high school with the skills to manage complex systems of computers? At Inland Lakes High School, the answer is many.

Thanks to an enthusiastic staff, supportive administration, and the tremendous financial backing of a community member who wishes to remain anonymous, Inland Lakes High School can boast of being the only high school north of Midland that offers its student Cisco training - the standard for high-tech management of multiple computers.

Under the watchful eye of instructor Tim Morley, these students experience everything from learning how to splice a computer cable to designing Web pages, to organizing the information flow in a large network of computers.

Those who successfully complete the two-year sequence of courses have the opportunity to take the Cisco system management certification test at a vastly reduced cost. If successful on the test, they are ready to enter the job market with a highly desired set of skills for which employers are willing to pay well.

Inland Lakes Schools: an award winning school district where exciting innovation is firmly rooted in the basics. Take a look - you’ll like what you see.

Indian Riveropoly. A twist on a classic game...
The community of Indian River has come up with a way to go down in history by way of a popular board game. "Indian Riveropoly," a localized version of the well-known Parker Brothers game, is now available for purchase after being created by the Indian River Chamber of Commerce.

Instead of the traditional Atlantic City designations, Indian Riveropoly features local businesses on each board space, as well as on the game’s money and “chamber” cards. Players start at the popluar Vivio’s Restaurant, rolling the dice and moving around the board to buy property, collect rent and add houses and hotels.

The top of the game’s box features a full-color aerial photograph of Indian River, nestled in the midst of Michigan’s largest Inland Waterway.

Indian River Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brenda Archambo says this limited edition of a family classic makes a perfect gift or souvenir.

"Realtors present Indian Riveropoly to their clients at closing, and resorters can show off their favorite vacation destination after returning home to play one of America’s favorite pastime games," Archambo said. "Indian Riveropoly is reminiscent to a snapshot in time."

In creating the game, an auction was held during which local businesses, utilities and other parties bid on board spaces they were interested in purchasing.

Proceeds from the sale of the games, which are $25 each, support the marketing of Indian River as a four-season vacation destination, ultimately benefiting local businesses, families, kids and the community.

Indian Riveropoly games are available for purchase at the Indian River Chamber of Commerce and several local businesses, or by calling 1-800-EXIT-310, or visit the Web site for more information.

Indian River Tourist Bureau
Indian River - Where fun and adventure come naturally.
Vacations last a few days. Adventures are forever.
Your 4-season destination.
Open Year Round

Indian River Chamber of Commerce
Your One Stop Information Center
Lodging, dining, shopping and business directory - Local and regional calendar of events - Regional road, trail, county state and elk viewing maps - County plat book - Straits Area Navigational Chart - Inland Waterway video, guide, and maps - Nature preserve maps and field trips - Indian River apparel and more.

"You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!"
Ice cream - whether its savored by the spoonful or licked off a stick, the sweet treat is enjoyed by young and old alike.

The residents of and visitors to the Indian River area are no exception. During the past two summer seasons, people in Indian River, Topinabee, Mullett Lake and Cheboygan have listened for the sounds of an ice cream truck owned and operated by Mullett Lake summer residents Joe and Sherri Komperda.

The adventure began in 2004, when they discovered that no one had operated an ice cream truck locally for more than 25 years. The Brighton area couple purchased a Good Humor ice cream truck, established a franchise and began driving various routes during their summers up north.

Their bright white truck is covered with stickers and sports a flashing yellow beacon on top, a serving window and a menu featuring more than 24 ice cream choices. In addition to its distinctive look, the truck also has a public address system that alerts neighborhoods to its arrival by playing "The Music Box Dancer."

Joe Komperda said his ice cream business means different things to different ages. "For the adults, the truck takes your memory back, to a good time, a happy time, a simple time in their life," he said. "As for all the children, we’re creating new memories daily."

Even family pets that find themselves visiting the ice cream truck are rewarded with milkbone treats.

The "Northern Good Humor" ice cream truck can be found at most events and beaches throughout the summer and on weekends in September. This year, 2006, will be their third season.

Getting Here
Visitors to Indian River can arrive here by automobile, airplane, boat, snowmobile, ORV and any means of transportation. Indian River is also centrally located in Northern Michigan and within minutes of Cheboygan, Petoskey, Mackinaw City and Gaylord.

By Air
Northwest Airline’s partner Mesaba Airlines offers flights to the Pellston Regional Airport (airport code PLN) from most major cities. Pellston is just a short drive from Indian River. Other airports within driving distance are located in Traverse City, Cheboygan and Sault Ste. Marie.

By Car
Traveling to Indian River on Interstate 75 to exit 310, at the exit, turn west onto M-68, which will lead directly into Indian River. State highway M-27 also goes right through town.

By Boat
Indian River is accessible by boaters coming from Onaway, Oden, Alanson, Indian River or Cheboygan. In terms of bodies of water, it can be reached from Mullett Lake, Burt Lake, Pickerel Lake, Crooked Lake or Lake Huron, and both the Indian River and Sturgeon River run through it. The Pigeon River is near by.

Easy Day Trips from Indian River to the Surrounding Area

  1. Boyne City - Boyne City located 40 miles southwest of Indian River, has a quiet downtown area of shops and parks located at the mouth of the Boyne River on Lake Charlevoix. There is a very nice marina that offers access to Lake Michigan and in the winter is a Skiing mecca.
  2. Charlevoix - Charlevoix, located 45 miles south west of Indian River; Charlevoix is a small town combining its resort-tourism tradition. In addition to Charlevoix’s natural attractions, there is shopping, dining and a wide variety of special events including the Annual Venetian Festival. The city is also home to the Beaver Island ferry.
  3. Cheboygan - Cheboygan is located approximately 20 miles north of Indian River along the coast of Lake Huron. Situated at the mouth of the Cheboygan River, it is the northern gateway to the Inland Waterway. With the waterway such a popular place for boaters, Cheboygan has several marinas, a lighthouse, beaches and a drawbridge. The downtown area also has many shops and restaurants.
  4. Gaylord - Situated precisely between the Equator and the North Pole, this Swiss Village sits high on the 45th parallel. With its Alpine theme, Gaylord is known for its weeklong summer celebration, "Alpenfest." Gaylord is also well known for their central location to golfing and snowmobiling.
  5. Harbor Springs - Located 25 miles south west of Indian River, Harbor Springs is a thriving little community nestled among the rolling hills on the shore of Lake Michigan and the Little Traverse Bay. With a natural harbor and plenty of docking slips, dinners and boutiques near the downtown are await visitors by boat or foot.
  6. Mackinac Island - Maintaining its Victorian image, families love exploring the historic, natural beauty of Mackinac Island State Park. Mackinac Island is limited to transportation by horse and buggy, bicycle or foot. Surrounded by water, it has escaped the vast changes of time and has become world famous for its fudge and Annual Lilac Festival.
  7. Mackinaw City - Located 25 miles north of Indian River, experience the Colonial Michilimackinac, Historic Mill Creek, & Fort Mackinac. Great shopping, water park, and seasonal nightly entertainment. Ferry service to Mackinac Island.
  8. Ocqueoc Falls - 31 miles east of Indian River, the largest water fall in Michigan’s lower Peninsula, moderate to challenging cross county skiing, hiking and snowmobile trails. Trailhead located at Ocqueoc Falls State Forest Campground.
  9. Onaway - Located 20 miles east of Indian River and surrounded by lakes, rivers and forests, Onaway has retained its small town atmosphere. Four season sports are popular, including boating, snowmobiling as well as fishing. Black Lake makes Onaway famous as the Sturgeon Capital of Michigan.
  10. Petoskey - Located 30 miles south west of Indian River on the Little Traverse Bay, the city is built on a rolling hillside that adds to the beauty of the area and also many spectacular sunsets viewed from several parks within the city. Petoskey is a year-round town, with numerous shops, a casino and activities to satisfy visitors throughout the year, including the Annual Festival of the Bay.
  11. Pigeon River Country State Forest - Visitors to Indian River should know they are only minutes away from more than 95,000 acres of wilderness to explore and enjoy. The Pigeon River Country State Forest is probably most noted for its elk herd, but is also home to bear, bobcat, eagles, osprey, hawks, ruffed grouse, woodcock, rabbits, deer and many other animals. Several lakes, river and streams are also located within its boundaries. Most of the streams and lakes are open to fishing enthusiasts, although a few are used for research purposes and are consequently off limits. Trout fishing opportunities abound in some of the colder lakes and streams, while bass, panfish, muskie and pike can be found in the warmer waters. Seven rustic campgrounds exist within the Pigeon River Country, in addition to plenty of primitive camping that is not accessible by roads. More than 60 miles of hiking trails can be found here, as well as specified trails for horseback riding. Fro Indian River, take M-68 east and then turn south onto either Montgomery or Osmun roads. Pigeon River Country maps are available at the Indian River Chamber of Commerce.
  12. Rogers City - Located 32 miles east of Indian River Rogers City contains the largest limestone quarry in the world, which has resulted in the development of the world’s largest limestone processing plant, making Rogers City one of the major ports on the Great Lakes. Rogers City, aptly known as “The Nautical City,” is located on one of the most natural and undisturbed sections of the pristine waters of Lake Huron.
  13. St. Ignace - Cross the Mackinaw Bridge and discover the first Chapter of history at the Museum of Ojibwa Culture. Stroll the Huron Boardwalk and enjoy spectacular sunrises and views of Mackinac Island, open-air exhibits, restaurants, shops and a nearby casino.

One of Indian River’s summer highlights - Top O’Michigan Outboard Marathon
One of Indian River’s summer highlights is the Top O’Michigan Outboard Marathon. The event is an 87-mile two-day race over portions of Burt, Crooked and Mullett lakes and Crooked, Indian and Cheboygan rivers.

It is the oldest and one of the largest marathons in existence, according to race organizers.

Traditionally, the first day of the event has racers departing from DeVoe Beach in Indian River, zipping across Mullett Lake and up the Cheboygan River, turning around when they reach the locks and retracing their trail back to start.

The following day’s course also begins at DeVoe Beach, but then goes across Burt Lake and down the Crooked River to Crooked Lake, where racers turn around and backtrack. Both routes are approximately 42 or 43 miles.

The challenge of the course is the different types of conditions racers must navigate through, including potentially large waves in the bigger lakes and winding curves in the rivers. They also have to watch for other boaters, sand bars and broken stumps, with the fastest race boats skimming the waters at about 65 miles per hour.

Recreational boating traffic is not allowed along the race route during the event.

The race, which was originally called the Top O’Michigan Marathon, began in 1949. During the early stages of the event, competitors had to travel all 87 miles in one day.

Spectators can watch from various points along the course. The fastest boats take about an hour to cover the course each day.

The race is typically held in August. This year’s race takes place on August 12th and 13th.

If you have new or updated information about this virtual brochure, please contact us.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>